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Rajya Sabha saw the lowest number of sittings ever in 2020

A view of an illuminated Parliament House in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

With the government refusing to call the winter session of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha sat for just 33 days in 2020, its lowest-ever tally of sittings in a year. There are only three other occasions when the Upper House sittings were below 50 days in a year.

Both sessions of Parliament — Budget session and the monsoon session — had to be cut short due to COVID-19 pandemic. The Budget session which was scheduled to have 31 sittings was brought to a close after 23. Similarly, the monsoon session which was to have 18 sittings, amidst strict restrictions, could manage to have only 10 as the number of COVID-19 positive cases among the Parliamentarians and the supporting staff started spiralling.

Rajya Sabha saw the lowest number of sittings ever in 2020
 

There are only three other occasions when Rajya Sabha met for less than 50 sittings in a year — 48 in 1999 and 46 each in 2004 and 2008.

The BJP, which is the single largest party in the Upper House, now has 93 members. The Rajya Sabha is no longer the stumbling block that it was during the first term of the Narendra Modi government.

The last time the winter session was cancelled was 36 years back in 1984. In overall Parliamentary history, there have been only two other instances in 1979 and 1975 when the winter session was cancelled.

As per an analysis by the Rajya Sabha secretariat, the limited number of sittings did not hurt the productivity. “During the year 2020, the annual productivity of Rajya Sabha has been 82.7%, the highest annual productivity during the last 11 years,” a senior Rajya Sabha official said.

A total of 39 Bills have been passed by the Rajya Sabha during 2020, including 12 during the Budget session and 27 during the monsoon session. The list of legislations include the controversial three farm laws, which the Opposition parties claimed were bulldozed through without any credible discussion. The year 2020 also saw unprecedented suspension of eight Opposition MPs and the Opposition moving a notice for the removal of Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 2:07:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajya-sabha-saw-the-lowest-number-of-sittings-ever-in-2020/article33470518.ece

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